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Thread: Problems with USB Hardware?

  1. #21
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    Sep 2003
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    Default Complications Narrow the Problem

    As stated before, with the boot drive completely wiped and a clean MacOS installed, the flight simulator software still can not receive signals from the USB dongle connecting it to the transmitter ***when booted from this disk***. Reboot into the scratch disk containing another clean installation of MacOS and another copy of the flight simulator software, and everything still works fine, so long as the dongle is in a built-in USB port. No response when it is plugged into the Sonnet PCIe USB card.

    New test: ***While booted from the scratch disk***, open the copy of the flight simulator on the boot drive. The sim opens, but, once again, the USB dongle can not connect to the transmitter. Something is preventing the software on this drive from communicating properly with the USB bus. What are the possibilities? bad software, despite the clean installation? bad SATA port housing the drive? gremlins?

    One possibility would be to swap what I'm calling the "boot" and "scratch" drives, but the boot drive is faster and newer, and the mystery would remain.

  2. #22
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    Occam's razor.... the simplest answer is usually the correct one.


    Something wrong with that drive? (easy to test, swap out the drive)

    Something wrong with that SATA port? (easy to test, move the drive)
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #23
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    Default

    TS, have you solved this problem?
    because I have the same and still suffer in search of a solution.

  4. #24
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    Default Can Bad PCIe Bays Run Some USB Devices, But Not Others?

    Is it plausible for a PCIe bay to go bad in such as way that, when the OS is booted from the bay, USB keyboards and mice work, but the USB dongle for connecting the radio transmitter to the simulator do not? Should all USB devices work if any does, or is it possible for some devices to work, but not others?

    Here are my test. Always, only the necessary USB devices were installed. No extra junk was running:

    I swapped the drives in bays 3 and 4, so that the "good" drive was now in the "bad" drive's bay, and the "bad" drive was now in the "good" drive's bay. Now, the "good" drive would not work, so I moved it to yet another bay, Bay 2. Still won't work! If we presume that the "good" drive should work in a good bay, then now both Bays 2 and 4 are suspect.

    The "bad" drive in the formerly "good" Bay 3 would not work. This would suggest a problem with the "bad" drive, if only the inconsistencies about the bays did not leave all deductions suspect.

    When one or the other of the dongles responds, swapping the USB dongle between USB ports makes an inconsistent difference. Sometimes, a dongle prefers ports on the front to those on the back. Other times, both work, or just the back. Might that be only the result of forcing the USB bus to reboot the USB driver? In any case, I can not get convincingly consistent results.

    The radio transmitter being connected via the USB dongle has two sticks. Often, the left stick responds, but not the right.

    All this confusing language reminds me of the old Abbott and Costello routine, "Who's On First?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg

  5. #25
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    Default

    Wish I knew how to answer any of that. No idea. Only way method I ever use to diagnose is do whatever I can to make a change in the behavior. If I can repeat it, then I can figure it out. I hate when it is somewhat random.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #26
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    Boise
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    Default

    I laugh every time I hear that routine. In fact when I'm getting back to something I've paused on, I ask myself who's on first. All I can say is if Rick doesn't know the answer, who can give you the answer?

  7. #27
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    Sep 2003
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    Default Gremlins in the Machine

    One last detail suggests Gremlins in the machine. After the clean installation of the OS on the boot drive, and migration of all the apps and data to it, upon moving to a new bay, it first booted, and then would not, but booted into the restoration partition instead, asking for MacOS to be reinstalled. So, what the heck; reinstalled not clean, but from the Install MacOS X application. Now it boots again (as it usually did anyway), but still will not run the sim.

    One last thing I could try: Wipe the boot drive, then clone the scratch drive to it. Then, I'd know the software were identical… or, do I already, after the clean installations?

    Makes me wonder whether there is something about the MacPro3,1 that just does not like this sim. Is that possible? Could something in the hardware make the sim not run on a paleolithic Mac? The programmer says it should run, and it does run, from the scratch drive only. Baffling!

  8. #28
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    Sep 2003
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    Default Different USB Drivers in Different OS Versions?

    The simulator's author says that different versions of MacOS have different USB drivers, that may or may not play nicely with different models of Mac, and which may especially be a problem when working with older Macs. Might that explain the inconsistencies? He thinks there may be no solution, but to avoid what does not work. Still seems not to explain why the scratch drive works with the USB dongles, if inconsistently, but the boot drive does not.

  9. #29
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    Half the problems with USB is because it is 'universal'. It has so many functions and cross overs that it fails in fantastical ways. USB is so low level that it can effect the actual powering of a computer, let alone functioning of all the plethora of applications running within an operating system.

    I wonder what happens if you try one earlier OS revision?

    For the task at hand, is the scratch disk usable as the boot drive? I know you mentioned it is a slower drive... which to me seems backwards, scratch drives should be the fastest thing on a computer... but I guess it depends on what you define a scratch drive as used for.

    Is the project worth just getting a new drive to start over with? 2Tb drives are $75 or so these days.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  10. #30
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    Sep 2003
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    Default USBust

    I'll be away for a few days, so the project is on hold until I return. Will also ponder buying new drives then. Amazing how cheap they have become.

    How intriguing, that USB, across the ages and platforms, can be such a bust-up! Anyway, perhaps we are solving the problem… by admitting there may be no solution!

    By "scratch" drive, I meant, "random disk that happened to be available, for the purpose of installing an operating system for a test." Not Gurufied language, I guess!

  11. #31
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    Sep 2003
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    Default Problem Found in nsUSB

    Well, there ya go! Booting into MacOS Mavericks 10.9.5 solves everything with this simulator! Both dongles work, and there is no problem switching between them. This suggests that the newer versions of nsUSB, "not-so-Universal-Serial-Bus," included in newer versions of MacOS, do not play nicely with the combination of this old tower (MacPro3,1), these two dongles, and this simulator. Maybe only the nsUSB and one of those others do not work together, but the outcome is the same.

    Does this suggest that there is no other fix, other than to always boot from Mavericks when I want to run the simulator?

    Regarding security: Mavericks is now five years old. I believe Apple has stopped releasing security updates for it. Would that mean that, when booted from Mavericks, I should shut off networking, to protect the computer from attacks from the Internet?

    Regarding the graphics: The simulator runs, but at 45 frames per second. Would a faster hard drive allow a smoother frame rate, or is that strictly a function of the ancient, slow graphics card in this old tower? (There is plenty of RAM.)

    Thank you for all the help. Sometimes, it is amazing how obvious a solution should be, if only we could know up front what has been learned by the end of the process.

  12. #32
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    Sep 2003
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    302

    Default Finally, a Solution! A Better USB Dongle Works.

    I've learned more about this problem with USB dongles, and finally have a solution. To recap the problem, My MacPro3,1 and MacBookPro7,1 both run the same version of MacOS El Capitan (10.11.6), but only the laptop responded to the dongles in that OS. The MacPro only responded with an older version of the OS (Mavericks).

    The author of the simulator I was trying to run recommended RX2SIM, an expensive, complex USB dongle requiring a separate radio receiver, for a total cost of US$90, but it did not work consistently:
    http://www.rcware.com/eng/rx2sim.php

    So, I moved on to a US$15 aftermarket dongle. It worked on my laptop in El Capitan, but the tower would only run it under Mavericks:
    https://hobbyking.com/en_us/orange-r...___store=en_us

    Unavailable at the time I tried those other two dongles, the manufacturer of my radio transmitter recently introduced this dongle. Works like a charm, on both computers, in El Capitan!
    https://www.spektrumrc.com/Products/...odID=SPMWS1000

    So, the problem was not so much that the OS's USB drivers did not cooperate with the dongles, as that the dongles did not cooperate with the USB drivers. Plug bad hardware into a USB port, and it may or may not work!

  13. #33
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    Default

    Ya know, I never thought bout it in reference to your thread, but El Capitan is the only operating system from Yosemite forward that left out AHCI common platform USB3.1 drivers. All our USB3.1 PCIe host card will run on anything except El Cap. Might just be a link in there somewhere.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  14. #34
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    Sep 2003
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    302

    Default Backward Compatibility of Not So Universal Serial Bus?!

    Curious whether I understand this… The dongles that do not work with El Capitan may require USB3.1 drivers, which Apple just happened to leave out of El Capitan, yet which exist in older operating systems. But, since these dongles are USB devices, they kinda sorta almost partially work El Capitan, albeit incorrectly, due to the presence of other USB drivers on the system. Along comes Spektrum, the manufacturer of the radio transmitters that the dongles are supposed to connect to either Windows or Mac, with the latest dongle to hit the market. Third-party manufacturers beat them to market but, whether by accident or wisdom, Spektrum just happens to have designed its dongle to be compatible with every OS it may encounter, so it made its hardware compatible with older drivers. Pop this dongle into El Capitan, and it can not find USB3.1 drivers; but, no problem, it is just as happy to work with older drivers that can be found in Mavericks, and which were carried into El Capitan!

    But… the Orange Micro dongle works under El Capitan on my MacBooPro7,1 for one simulator, but not the other, whereas it does not work at all under El Capitan on my MacPro3,1 (the RX2SIM works inconsistently, and the Orange Micro drives only the left joystick, not the right). Perhaps the presumed "same" El Capitan installed on these two computers is not actually the same; or, perhaps El Capitan installs different USB drivers onto different hardware; or, perhaps the hardware in the MacPro3,1 does not respond well to the necessary USB drivers, with no workaround?

    What a crazy technology!

    Is there any way to add USB3.1 drivers to El Capitan? No worries if not, since I now have a dongle that works, but I'd add 'em if I could.


    NEW QUESTION:

    I have never upgraded my laptop past El Capitan, for fear of slowing it, as I have seen so often with upgrades. Should I be concerned? If I understand correctly, the newer OS would have the missing USB3.1 drivers, and it would receive security upgrades longer into the future.

  15. #35
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    Default

    El Capitan is one OS I skipped entirely other than early testing. It did not impress me. I thought Yose was better. I really like how much better Sierra and High Sierra are performance wise. High Sierra is very good.

    I have no idea what software you have won't work on Sierra or High Sierra. There are differences from earlier OSes.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    302

    Default Confirming Bad USB Port

    One last discovery: Now that I finally have a USB dongle that is known to be good with my OS, I can confirm that the second of the three USB ports on the back of my MacPro works intermittently. Put the dongle in any other port, and it works fine. In that middle port, it works intermittently. I'll be flying along, and then suddenly crash, due to a loss of control that occurs with no other port.

    Funny how everything comes together. I had suspected that port for months, but as one more erratic problem in an erratic system, could not confirm it as an independent issue until now. The port seems to be okay with simpler USB devices, if that is possible. It may just be that a bad port may hardly influence a mouse, because a mouse is not in constant use, whereas momentary loss of signal will crash a virtual aircraft.

    I intend to do nothing about this bad port. Solution is simply not to use it.

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